Fuel freeze saves drivers $6.1m
The freeze on gas and diesel prices will save drivers $6.1 million, David Burt, the Premier, told MPs.
Mr Burt, who is also finance minister, said that if a block had not been put on rising pump costs last March, the average motorist would be paying an extra $23 to fill their tanks, while for taxi and mini-bus operators it would be $35 more.
The Premier said yesterday the relief amounted to an estimated $4 million for gas and $2 million for diesel during 2022-23.
As the Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2) Act 2022, which covers duty relief on fuel, went through the House of Assembly, Mr Burt thanked MPs for their support.
He said: "The good news is that gas prices have fallen since they peaked at over $120 a barrel in – April."
Mr Burt, who said the move was part of a wider effort to deal with rising living costs, told MPs that around one third of customs duty in Bermuda comes from fuel.
He said that when he took over the finance minister role in February he had stopped an “automatic” rise in fuel prices.
Mr Burt has said that the Government was taking the brunt of the cost of the price freeze through Customs duty cuts.
He said: “I know that this move has generated some controversy. As at any time you take urgent action there are bound to be some challenges in implementation.
“But it was important that we acted quickly to protect our residents and businesses and transportation providers.”
Jason Hayward, the economy and labour minister, said that the cost of living and lack of opportunities were the main factors pushing Bermudians to "make the decision to leave our shores".
Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, said the opposition backed the fuel break, but asked whether the wholesalers in the oil and gas industry had pledged to pass on the savings to consumers.
OBA shadow minister Craig Cannonier supported the tariff legislation, telling the House: "For far too long, it's been a great secret that the two who make the most money out of fuel are the wholesalers and Government."
Mr Burt said that imports for the supply of electricity fell under different laws, but the Government was looking at other ways to bring additional relief for the island's consumers.
Fuel companies warned in the summer that the gas price freeze was “unsustainable” and could not be maintained indefinitely.